Sunday, September 28, 2014

Movie Review ... The Equalizer


The_Equalizer_10‘The Equalizer’ provides an abject lesson in how not to adapt.  Based on the hit 1980’s Edward Woodward TV series, this adaptation strives to do justice to its memory.  Proving Hollywood’s obsession with plundering classic TV shows can sometimes go awry, this version is best avoided.  Contorting the series premise to deliver an ultra-violent ‘Death Wish’-style vigilante fantasy, ‘The Equalizer’ is more akin to Rambo than the TV version’s restraint.

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a man with a mysterious past who has deadly weaponry skills.  They come in handy when meeting Teri (Chloe Grace Moretz).  Trapped in the vice-like grip of Russian gangsters, she needs all the help McCall can deliver.  Taking arms and eager to fight for justice, McCall shows why his new moniker of ‘The Equalizer’ should be feared by evil-doers crossing his path.

Laced with grisly violence, one dimensional characters and Antoine Fuqua’s heavy handed direction, ‘The Equalizer’ is a disappointment.  Fans of the TV series would be aghast at the changes made.  High among them is Washington’s mono-sibylic performance as a man initially wanting a clean slate.  His role is blank given the little emotion shown.  Fuqua’s decision to make McCall almost superhuman destroys any semblance of the TV series’ gritty reality.

As each fanciful action sequence appears, ‘The Equalizer’ has less credibility.  You may as well watch a Superman movie given how ridiculously indestructible McCall becomes.  The villains he faces are of the usual clichéd variety highlighting the scripts’ far-fetched elements.  Nothing is believable with the mean-spirited violence offering uncomfortable viewing. 

‘The Equalizer’ is a mediocre vehicle for Washington and Fuqua who have done better.  Whilst some scenes stand out, this overlong ode to brutality proves it takes a certain skill to adapt a property – something ‘The Equalizer’s’ film-makers clearly lack.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  4

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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